What did you eat today? What about yesterday? Could you list everything and know when you ate or are you a “mindless” eater?
If you are like me (Sam), you will start the day with good intentions, plan your meals, then at some point somebody will bring in some treats… and once you have one you need another, right!?
Luckily, I know I have that trait in me, so I must be very mindful about what I eat, because if I allow myself a treat it may turn into a full-blown binge. Today I want to tell you how practising mindfulness can be incorporated in to daily life, and this example is all about nutrition...
I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with food. In my drinking days particularly, I would binge on junk food. After I gave up the booze I replaced the drinking habit with treating myself to snacks instead, most of the time not even tasting what I was eating.
When I reached my biggest weight of 16 stone I knew I had to make a change and after a recommendation from my doctor I started counting calories. For some time it helped a lot, getting to know what I’m actually putting into my body, but after a while I became much more mindful about my eating.
Taking the time to prepare food, to really taste it, and to appreciate it really gives you a more enjoyable eating experience. Counting calories or restricting your diet can work for a short amount of time but unless you have incredible self-control it is usually not sustainable in the long term.
Some of my mindful lifestyle rules I keep to and tell everyone about -
- Eat as 'clean' as possible… i.e. cooking from scratch using fresh ingredients. The more processed a food is, the more likely it is to have unhealthy ingredients and hidden chemicals.
- This also leads onto "reduced fat" and "sugar free" items... Sometimes the processes taking the fat away also strips the food of its nutrition, and instead of sugars, a synthesised alternative is used which still makes the body think it's had sugar leading to the inevitable crash and craving for more sugary foods... It's much better to have a little of the more natural product and stay away from chemicals.
- Want a treat? Go for the finest quality, or a homemade version to make it a real “treat” as opposed to a quick snack... really taste, enjoy and appreciate it.
- Try to pre-make lunches and healthy snacks for a few days to make sure you don’t go hungry through the day, inevitably leading to poorer food choices after work.
- Making the effort to shop locally and getting fresh food always seems to make meals taste better for me than the stuff you'll pick up from the supermarket.
- EXERCISE!! Even if it’s for 20 minutes a day... it’s better than no minutes a day. Getting into a routine is the most difficult part... you will enjoy it more once it's ingrained into your system and the feel-good factor will encourage better food choices later.
Easter is pretty much here. If you receive chocolate eggs, try to really enjoy them. If you find you are not getting any enjoyment from them... just stop! Put it away or freeze it... slowly melting frozen chocolate in your mouth is a really good way to cut down on the risk of a binge!
Be mindful of what you eat, keep it fairly healthy 80% of the of the time and really enjoy your treats to get the most of a healthily balanced lifestyle - whatever that means for you
Nutrition and food choices are different for all of us so Ash and I have made the decision to make April's focus.... Nutrition. We will be touching on how our mental health can effect the choices we make, and vice versa.
There are no SMASH classes on Friday or Monday but there will be a special SMASH class this Saturday at 10am! We hope you can make it, let us know if you would like to bring someone and we will check availability for guest passes
ve a great Easter break! Whatever you choose to do, try to enjoy every moment
Sam & Ashley